It was a Sunday. I had had my lunch date with Amelia on Saturday and today she planned to come over for her walk with Dad. I was grinding away on my sewing machine trying to finish the owl quilt so she could take it with her. Sea had sent an email to Bill requesting help getting the new dock put together. He needed strong arms to get it hauled to the water and assembled. Bill could come. He lined up two other sailors to help, and oh, by the way he was “on deck” with the kids as mom was out of town. (That is the new term in their household for “baby sit” or “parenting.”)
“That’s fine” I say. “I have a plan.”
I did have a plan. In scrounging around in my fabric stash I found two plastic doll heads and lower arms. The heads had shoulders with holes so it could be sewn to a stuffed body. The arms had grooves to tie on stuffed fabric tops. I had shown them to the girls earlier and they seemed to like the idea. I searched further and found the rest of the necessary ingredients: pattern, skin colored fabric and stuffing. Before they arrived I stitched the bodies. The kids could turn them right side out and stuff them and I would sew them together.
What a successful afternoon. Lucy was a little better at stuffing solidly so she helped Phoebe. The arms and legs didn’t really matter. They gave them names and painted hearts on their bodies… with veins, says Lucy. “What are veins?” asks Phoebe and by that time Amelia had arrived for the anatomy lesson.
While I sewed on the heads, arms and legs, doing each in turn, the dolls were inoculated with pins “for infectious diseases” – Lucy’s idea… (age 8). Their hair was brushed and combed, and when they were finally put together we invaded the basement for clothing fabric. “Purple, and blue and yellow and ….” well, after the list covered every possible color, I just hauled out boxes and let them choose. “And plaids… and…”
Lucy is very adept at making clothes and managing a needle and thread as well. Phoebe tended to cut pieces a little small but found ways to cover the doll. Her dad came in after the dock work was done and Lucy called out “Can you come back later?” The girls, by this time had a chair for a house, the seats became the bed rooms. They had baby dolls for… I am not sure if they were the doll’s toys or baby sisters.
It was hard to pull them away when it was time to leave. Lucy had sewn a strap around the neck of the doll’s dress and was truly frustrated when she couldn’t take the dress off the doll. (lesson learned)
It was Phoebe who provided the best memory for me. I wish I had had a camera handy. As the stuffing was going in the dolls, the plastic bag it was in broke and she held up two piles of stuffing and said with a big smile on her face,“Clouds, I can make clouds.”